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The University of Northampton, Faculty of Business and Law PhD Studentships

University of Northampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Northampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Tuition fee waiver and a bursary at UK research council rates (currently £15,009 per annum)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 13th December 2019
Expires: 30th January 2020

The Faculty of Business and Law is looking to build on the University of Northampton’s distinctive values around social impact and the location of its new £330 million campus in the heart of Northampton by encouraging world quality research in areas that will have a strong local impact. As part of this initiative, the Faculty is delighted to announce three fully funded PhD studentships. These posts will add to the Faculty’s growing Postgraduate Research Student community, comprising both PhDs and DBAs.

The University of Northampton is committed to research that not only generates new knowledge, but is also designed to help improve people’s lives and the environment. This social impact philosophy was recognised in 2013 when we were the first university in the UK to achieve AshokaU Changemaker Campus status. The University also has a strong reputation for supporting our doctoral students which was recognised in positive feedback in the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) that saw the University ranked second for satisfaction with progression and third  for satisfaction with resources.

  • Exploring family business succession from the successors perspective (STU19008)

This project will explore one of the key issues in family business: Succession. Succession can range from a long term, nepotistic (heirs being groomed sometimes from birth) process to clearly structured and planned succession based on capability. While research exists, in reality many family businesses find themselves unprepared for the transition of succession whether it’s planned or unplanned. The aim of this research is to advance the understanding of family business succession in the generational transition process, with particular focus on first and second, and second and third generation family businesses in the UK across differing sectors.

Family businesses are central to the UK economy as they make up two-thirds of businesses and employ around 12.2 million people. This equates to 47% of private sector employment. Northamptonshire has long history of family firms. This research will contribute to the University’s ambition to make Northamptonshire the best county in the UK to start, build and run a business by enhancing knowledge about how to sustain family businesses in Northamptonshire.

The research has the following research aims:

  • Critically evaluate the literature on succession studies and the differing perspectives to gain a holistic understanding of succession
  • Systematically understand the configuration of family businesses in Northamptonshire
  • Propose solutions on how to enhance sustainability and continuity in family businesses in Northamptonshire
  • Develop a family business forum and invite local key stakeholders ( e.g. family business owners, policy makers, practitioners) to engage, communicate, network, collaborate and co-develop family businesses in Northamptonshire.

We are looking for a pro-active candidate who can demonstrate a strong interest in researching family business and relevant topics – owner/managers, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Previous experience and knowledge of these areas will be advantageous.

This is an exciting project for someone to conduct empirical work that will have real impact on Northamptonshire and the UK. The ideal candidate will enjoy the combination of both practical skills such as building family business networks while developing academic skills and knowledge.

This can lead to a wide range of career opportunities in family business or related fields.

Supervisory Team:

For further information or an informal chat please contact:

Dr Angela Rushton, Faculty of Business and Law

Dr Rebecca Fakoussa

Dr Yan Wang

Start Date: 9th March 2020

Application deadline date: 17th January 2020

Interview date: Week commencing 3rd  February 2020

  • Judicial independence in Organised Crime: Activism or Restraint? (STU19009)

The concept of organised crime (OC) has been studied in various ways, but there is a research gap in terms of the way courts conduct their business in relation to OC cases. While dealing with OC cases, the independence of the judiciary can be compromised by showing judicial restraint, but judicial activism can protect this independence (Campbell, 2016:115). What is missing is research into the circumstances in which judicial corruption by OC groups impacts upon wider society (Home Office, 2018).

This project will investigate countermeasures that can be put into place to deter any undue collaboration between the judiciary and OC groups. The subsequent or future evaluation plan can be established to counter the developing relations between crime and judiciary.

The judicial political set up of any state defines the nature and conduct of the judiciary in the respect of how OC is to be dealt with. The importance of courts’ conduct and links to OC have become of great importance with the growth in OC levels and the broadening of OC activity from the traditional (trafficking of drugs, weapons etc) to the white collar and financial realms.

The aims and rationale for the project:

  • Can judicial restraint towards OC lead to collusion with corrupt governments?
  • Can a colluding government and judiciary act to benefit OC Groups?
  • Would judicial activism counter the impact of a corrupt state to neutralise OC?

Judicial corruption and OC are the main factors that have undermined the democratisation process and the strengthening of the rule of law. In other words, judicial strengthening (ie sound institutional and decisional independence when dealing with cases of organised crime) can lead to a sound democratic state with the presence of the rule of law (Adeleke & Olayaniu, 2014). The research explores the interplay of judicial corruption and OC. This research is socio-legal in its nature and looks at both the social and institutional aspects of the phenomenon.

Specific Project entry requirements:

Applicants should have qualifications in a related discipline, such as Law or Criminology

Supervisory Team:

For further information or an informal chat please contact:

Dr Simon Sneddon

Dr Manos Daskalou

Start Date: 19th October 2020

Application deadline date: 30th January 2020

Interview date: Week commencing 16th March

  • What about Northamptonshire: Towards a new approach on memorable and meaningful tourism experience (STU19010)

Northamptonshire is at the very heart of England and often referred as the ’Rose of the Shires’ (Visit Northamptonshire, 2019). Despite its close proximity to Oxford, Cambridge and even London, and the variety of natural resources and historical landmarks, the county is relatively unknown on the tourism map of Britain. According to Visit Britain (2019), Northamptonshire has been visited by 249, 460 in 2018 (- 8.90% compared to 2017) with business tourism and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) tourism dominating the figures. A very small percentage (12.49%) belongs to travel for holiday purposes which clearly indicates the marginal role of recreational tourism in the county. Although there have been various marketing, branding and advertising campaigns in the last few years aimed at improving the destination image of the county such as Northamptonshire Britain’s Best Surprise (Northamptonshiresurprise, 2019), the number of visitors and tourist expenditure have failed to significantly boost Northamptonshire’s economy. It is evident that the county needs an innovative and more experiential approach not only to attract visitors to the county but also to facilitate a more active and engaging consumption of tourism resources. This implies the adoption of a new experiential approach to tourism management and development aimed at providing a more memorable and meaningful tourist experience.

Tourist experiences are arguably different from everyday experiences (Cohen, 1979; Graburn, 2001) and they often rely on emotions, memories and meanings attached to places (Larsen, 2007). As defined by Stamboulis & Skayannis (2003), tourist experience represents an interaction between destinations and tourists in which the former is the site of the experience while the latter is the actors. In the context of the ‘experience economy’ (Pine & Gilmore, 1999), providing a diverse and meaningful tourist experience has become an essential component of destination competitiveness and a critical success factor for destination management.

The main purpose of this research is to focus on visitors’ perceptions and their tourism experience in Northamptonshire. The study seeks to explore the reasons why Northamptonshire is not a particularly appealing tourism spot, investigate the patterns of tourist consumption and explore new creative, innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to provide meaningful and memorable tourist experience. The study has the following objectives:

  • To assess the competitiveness of the Northamptonshire’s tourism potential by an evaluation of the spatial, environmental and cultural resources of the county
  • To explore the patterns of tourist consumption and investigate the dimensions of tourist experience from a visitors’ perspective
  • To provide realistic and practical advice on the establishment of innovative tourist experiences in Northamptonshire and justify their potential economic and social impact

Specific Project entry requirements:

Applicants should have qualifications in a related discipline such as Tourism, Economics, Marketing, Human Geography, Business and Entrepreneurship. Previous experience with using quantitative methods/mixed methods will be considered as a strong advantage.

Supervisory Team:

For further information or an informal chat please contact:

Dr Nick Naumov

Dr Marcella Daye

Start Date: 19th October 2020

Application deadline date: 30th January 2020

Interview date: Week commencing 16th March

General requirements

The successful candidates will have adequate knowledge of research methods and the ability to develop qualitative and/or quantitative approaches as required. The selected candidates will be expected to attend conferences and publish academic papers during their period of funding.

Applications are welcomed from candidates with a recognised first or upper second-class honours degree or Master’s degree from a UK university or International equivalent in a relevant subject area. Evidence of English Language proficiency (IELTS 7 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any element, or equivalent) is required if your first language is not English.

Additional Information: go to our Postgraduate Research Information page for more information on all of these opportunities

Funding: The successful candidates will receive a tuition fee waiver and a bursary at UK research council rates (currently £15,009 per annum) plus £1,000 (cumulative) as a research expenses budget to support travel and conference attendance.

Duration of award: 3 years

Eligibility: This funding is open to UK, EU and international students.

Informal enquiries: please email the relevant supervisor as listed above

To apply: go to our ‘How to Apply’ page for information on ‘Funded PhD Studentships’. When applying, select the relevant academic year and use the unique reference code for the project you are interested in in the keyword search. For the studentships applicants are not required to prepare a research proposal but should use their personal statement to indicate their suitability for the post.

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